Afghan delegation reaches Islamabad

By Our Diplomatic Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: As the Taliban forces started entering the Afghanistan capital after taking all the major cities, including Jalalabad and Mazar-i-Sharif, a high-level delegation of Afghan political leadership including Speaker Wolesi Jirga Mir Rehman Rehamni arrived in Islamabad on Sunday.
“Just received a high level Afghan political leadership delegation including Speaker Ulusi Jirga Mir Rehman Rehmani, Salah-ud-din Rabbani, Mohammad Yunus Qanooni, Ustad Mohammad Karim Khalili, Ahmad Zia Massoud, Ahmad Wali Massoud, Abdul Latif Pedram, and Khalid Noor,” Pakistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq wrote on his Twitter handle.
He said that matters of mutual interest will be discussed during the Afghan political leadership’s visit.
While the objectives of the arrival remain unclear, chances of dialogue seem certain amid the rapidly changing situation in Afghanistan due to the continuous Taliban gains against the security forces.
Pakistan is likely to host a regional conference on Afghanistan to be attended by foreign ministers of the immediate neighbours of the war-torn country as well as other stakeholders as part of a diplomatic push to prevent a civil war there. “We are planning to host foreign ministers of the key regional countries on the Afghan situation,” a senior Pakistani official told The Express Tribune requesting anonymity.
The official added that they could not provide the list of invitees. However, sources said foreign ministers of the neighbours of Afghanistan including Russia, China, Iran and other stakeholders including Turkey would attend the conference.
The idea behind the initiative is to discuss the latest situation and evolve a consensus in order to prevent a civil war in Afghanistan. The neighbours of Afghanistan are concerned that the deteriorating situation in the war-torn country would have a negative impact on the region.
Earlier, Pakistan on Sunday said it was “closely following the unfolding situation” in Afghanistan, and would continue to support the efforts for a political settlement. “We hope all Afghan sides will work together to resolve this internal political crisis,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.
It said the Pakistan embassy in Kabul was “extending necessary assistance” to Pakistanis, Afghans and the diplomatic and international community for consular work and coordination of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flights.
A special inter-ministerial cell has been established in the Ministry of Interior to facilitate visa/arrival matters for diplomatic personnel, UN agencies, international organisations, media and others, it added.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Sunday said that Pakistan has “no favourites” in Afghanistan and the country is on the same page with the international community when it comes to finding a political solution to the problems of Afghanistan.
Speaking during a press conference in Islamabad, the foreign minister said that “when the time comes, Pakistan will recognise the Taliban government in line with international consensus, ground realities, as well as Pakistan’s national interests”.
“Pakistan agrees that there should be no military solution to the Afghan issue and wants all problems to be resolved through dialogue,” he said, adding that the country’s agenda is to see the development and prosperity of Afghanistan. Qureshi said that he will soon discuss the Afghan issue with the leadership of neighbouring countries, including China, Iran, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, adding that India, too, should work to resolve the Afghan issue.
He said that the situation in Afghanistan is rapidly changing, however, the Embassy of Pakistan in the country is functioning normally. “Pakistan has always played the role of a facilitator in Afghanistan and will continue to do so,” Qureshi said. “It is our neighbouring country, therefore, we want to establish good relations with it.” Towards the end of his press briefing, FM Qureshi said that the Afghan leadership must work together to find a solution that will save lives as well as the property of the Afghan people.